The economic situation places the government in a difficult position. With a shortfall in revenue collection and an overshooting fiscal deficit, the solutions provided by the Finance Minister are odd. But placing the onus of revenue collection on the aam admi while giving out concessions to the private sector to increase investment, is not conducive to the economy. The feasibility behind a regressive tax policy will corrode the moderation achieved in inflation and will lead to an increase in rates by the Reserve Bank of India.

Arjun Phillips,

New Delhi

The budget has little to offer to the common man. The two per cent increase in service tax will take a heavy toll on the common man as almost 90 per cent of services are brought under the tax bracket.

R. Sekar,

Visakhapatnam

Coming after a progressive railway budget, whose fate remains uncertain, and an optimistic economic survey, the budget is quite modest. Obviously, coalition politics has cast its shadow. But then Pranab Mukherjee may well follow up with what Hamlet said next: “Thus bad begins and worse remains behind.”

J.S. Acharya,

Hyderabad

Dr. M.S. Swaminathan deserves praise for his article “No green signal yet for the Yuva Kisan” (March 17). It seems an agriculturalist/farmer is not “an honourable member” of society. We can survive without a computer engineer, but not without a farmer!

K.C. Kalkura,

Kurnool

Mr. Mukherjee (“On a wing and a prayer,” editorial, March 17) could not have presented a better budget especially as the government has two difficult coalition partners. Though the economic situation in 1991 is similar to the present one, Mr. Mukherjee could not exercise bold decisions to increase development expenditure by augmenting internal resources. He has balanced the figures, meddling here and there.

G.M. Rama Rao,

Visakhapatnam

With the given limitations, Mr. Mukherjee has done a deft balancing act. We are now a service-oriented society and the levy of a service tax has been unavoidable.

The small relief to income tax payers is welcome. Spurring growth and containing fiscal deficit will be the challenges in the coming months.

D.B.N. Murthy,

Bangalore

Like other senior citizens across the country, I am sorely disappointed that there is nothing in the budget for them to compensate for the rise in prices and other essential expenses. It is evident that the government cares little for this disorganised and inarticulate section of society.

Jacob George,

Changanacherry

Not very many are rich in our country. But the budget is more likely to enhance the fortunes of the rich.

J. Amal,

Dindigul

The priority of this budget seems to be growth with stability. But the logic of burdening the housing sector further is not clear. This sector has the maximum linkage effect and is likely to boost the growth process.

Rameeza A. Rasheed,

Chennai

The budget is like the seasons — winter, summer and the monsoon. In its cycle of presentation, remarks by the Opposition and threadbare analysis by so-called experts and finance gurus have been continuing for several years now. These do not bring a smile to the face of the common man. The attempt to curb corruption is very feeble.

M.V.N. Raj,

Bangalore

Sooner or later, the bill for government profligacy has to be paid. Where is the honest and competent machinery that will grind out the money that is going to be poured down the tubes?

S. Suchindranath Aiyer,

Bangalore

It is really difficult to balance the budget where, on the one hand, you have so much subsidy and, on the other, you need to control expenditure. If too much subsidy is given, the fiscal deficit increases but, at the same time, some subsidy is required to meet social goals. Given these constraints, the Finance Minister has done a good job.

Satish Srinivasan,

Bangalore

A budget is not only about numbers. It should result in maximum welfare for the maximum number of people. We are experiencing unprecedented inflation. Demand always exceeds supply. Ever-increasing population is a reason for demand exceeding supply. Corruption is also a main reason for an increase in the cost of goods and services.

N. Mohan,

Chennai

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